Monday Mornings with Madison

The New Pinnacle for Brands: Brand Love, Part 3

Brand love may sound like marketing hogwash to old school business traditionalists.  But one need only look at hard line numbers to know that brand love is not only real, but in today’s world, it enhances the bottom line far more than cutting expenses, adjusting pricing, improving operational efficiencies, streamlining ergonomics and economies of motion, or outsourcing complex business processes.  Whereas once upon a time, companies might have seen marketing efforts as a waste of time and money, today everything a company does is inextricably intertwined with marketing.  Brand is everything and marketing’s focus is on finding ways to garner brand love.  In that regard, everyone in every company should be a part of the effort to generate brand love. Continue reading

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The New Pinnacle for Brands: Brand Love, Part 2

What do these companies have in common?  Lego.  Harley Davidson.  Disney.  Coca-Cola.  Apple.  YouTube.  Amazon Prime.  Google. Target.  Salesforce.  They are in different industries.  Some sell products and others provide a service.  Some are very old and others are fairly new.  But they have two things in common.  Besides being incredibly successful companies, the other big thing they share is that their customers love them.  They have “brand love.”  And the word love is not being used loosely, as in “I love coffee”.   These are brands that people use loyally and regularly, handing over their hard-earned money, month after month, year after year.  These are companies that customers rave and gush about to whomever will listen.  They willingly join brand fan clubs and loyalty programs… and support and defend their brand unfailingly to others.  They are willing to pay more for those products and services.  And customers won’t even think about abandoning a brand they “love” for a competitor.  They exhibit the kind of unwavering, faithful regard that is typically used to describe a dog’s besotted devotion to its owner.  These brands are so beloved that they become a part of their customers’ lives and identity.  Each brand has a kind of bond with its customer base that is usually afforded only to people in one’s inner circle. Continue reading

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The New Pinnacle for Brands: Brand Love, Part 1

Brand identity has slowly emerged as an integral part of business.    Most business leaders have come to understand that a company’s brand is about much more than a company’s logo, slogan, or other recognizable mark used to promote goods and services.  Brand and company are nearly synonymous.  Seth Godin described a brand as “the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.”  And, Scott Cook said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is—it is what consumers tell each other it is.”  It can even apply to an individual if that individual is tied to the delivery of a product or service, as is the case with motivational speaker Tony Robbins.  And, for businesses, brand can be one of its most important assets, if the brand is carefully crafted and nurtured with intentionality.  Brand is why Nike can charge five times as much for a pair of sneakers over unknown brands manufacturing similar sneakers. Continue reading

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Avoiding the Employee Turnover Epidemic of 2021

It took time and money for businesses to shift all of their employees to remote work.  Now employees don’t want to shift back.  They don’t want to return to the hassles of ‘going to work’ and ‘being at work’.  Workplace attire.  Commuting.  Child care.  Parking.  Rigid schedules.   Going to work and being at work is far more taxing, demanding and expensive for employees than WFH.  Remote work saves employees time and money and affords much more flexibility.

Employers, however, view WFH through a different lens.  There are several challenges that arise with WFH. Continue reading

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Is Employee Turnover the Workplace Epidemic of 2021?

Word Count: 1,312
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ Min.

With over 50% of the U.S. population now vaccinated (specifically half of all people ages 12 and over in 26 states have had at least one shot) and all states now officially fully re-opened for business, the U.S. economy has started the long, slow process of recovery.  As companies reopen physical locations, employees are being asked to return to work.  But what that will look like going forward is likely to differ from how it looked before March 2020.  No one doubts that there will be a New Normal.  That’s because although it took time and money for businesses to shift all of their employees to remote work, shifting them back may be even more costly, difficult and – in some cases — impossible.  The reason:  many of those employees don’t want to shift back.

Most U.S. employees have embraced “work-from-home” or WFH.  They don’t want to return to the hassles of ‘going to work’.  Work, yes.  Going to, no.  They don’t want to go back to workplace attire.  Uncomfortable.  Expensive.  Dry cleaning.  They don’t want to hassle with the troubles associated with commuting to and from work.  Time waste.  Traffic.  Parking.  Gasoline.  Car repairs.  Car accidents.  Traffic tickets.  They don’t want to resume paying for childcare and aftercare for their kids.  It’s not surprising that going to work is far more taxing, demanding and expensive for employees than working from home.  And WFH affords much more flexibility. Continue reading

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Sense of Humor and Success, Part 3

Word Count: 1,398
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ Min.

Humor, Laughter and Power

What do we know about laughter?  Everyone knows it feels good to laugh.  But have you ever marveled at how we laugh at just the right times?  We do it without consciously knowing why.  Laughter is not only totally spontaneous but also primarily social.  In fact, we are also 30 times more likely to laugh when we are with others than alone.  So, while laughter may make us feel good, it relies heavily on an audience.  Research confirms that laughter is a social construct, much like language, except that it is an unwitting response to social and linguistic cues.  When we laugh, we do it much more for others than for ourselves even though the serotonin released when laughing feels great.

What else do we know about humor and laughter?  What fundamental purpose does laughter serve?  Here’s what researchers have found. Continue reading

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Sense of Humor and Success, Part 2

Word Count: 1,727
Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ Min.

Appropriate Humor at Work

Most working adults don’t laugh much… and especially not at work.  A study shows that babies laugh, on average, 400 times a day whereas adults over the age of 35 laugh only 15 times a day.  Laughter starts to decrease around the age of 23, right around the time that people start working full time.  That’s likely because jokes, gags, slapstick comedy, and especially pranks are frowned on at work… seen as a waste of time or distraction from work.  Even mild humor like puns, irony and parody provokes eye-rolls as often as chuckles.  And not knowing how often to joke and what kind of humor is appropriate at work creates all kinds of HR problems.  So many workers opt to avoid humor altogether rather than get in trouble for kidding around in ways that offend, harass or are seen as just plain lollygagging. Continue reading

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Sense of Humor and Success, Part 1

Word Count: 1,409
Estimated Read Time: 5 ½ Min.

Did you hear the one about the Spanish-speaking magician?  He told the audience he would disappear on the count of three.  “Uno.”  “Dos.”  But he disappeared without a Tres.

That may not have made you laugh (except maybe for its corniness), but laughing is good for us.  Humor acts a mood enhancer and a kind of grease that soothes friction points between people.  It’s like WD 40 for the soul.  Reframing a negative event in a humorous light acts as a kind of emotional filter, preventing the negativity from triggering depression.  In fact, studies have shown that it actually helps people who suffer from depression from relapsing and those at risk of depression from having a depressive episode. Continue reading

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Being Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Word Count: 1,624
Estimated Read Time: 6 ½ Min.

Comfort.  We all desire comfort; lots of elbow room and loads of personal space. The word itself conjures images of luxury.  We want our homes to have pillow top mattresses, plush cushions, soft blankets, and reclining padded chairs.  We want to wear comfortable clothing like sherpa-lined hoodies, fleece-lined jogging pants, and luxuriant terry-cloth robes.  We want to eat comfort foods, like gooey grilled cheese sandwiches, creamy mashed potatoes, warm buttered biscuits, soft banana bread, and, of course, mom’s chicken noodle soup.  And when it comes to our emotional and mental well-being, we all strive to stay ‘in our comfort zone’… that place where things are familiar, balanced and even a little predictable. Continue reading

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Overcoming the Positivity Paradox

What could possibly be wrong with being positive?  People love a person with a positive attitude.  Positive people are usually smiling, cheerful and enthusiastic.  At work, they have a can-do disposition and a cheerleader-like energy.  They want to encourage everyone around them to do their best and be their best.  Super positive people always look at the bright side of any situation and are unflappable in their genial disposition.  These perpetuators of positivity are ready to praise every plan, support every initiative and embrace every idea.  When they aren’t using their hands to applaud, they are busy patting coworkers on the back or high-fiving colleagues in the hallway. Continue reading

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